Sales / Marketing

Building a household brand

by Charles Mak

Jenny Yip
marketing manager
OSIM (HK) Company Limited
Photo: Edde Ngan

Dedicated marketer contributes to business success

Recent market research reveals over 80 per cent of Hong Kong people regard OSIM as their preferred healthy lifestyle products provider.

As well as product innovation, the company's success lies in its excellent marketing strategies and Jenny Yip, marketing manager, OSIM (HK) Company Limited, plays a vital part in this.

Ms Yip graduated from Hong Kong Baptist University in 1991 with a bachelor's degree in communication (advertising and public relations). Armed with this qualification, a burning ambition and a strong will to succeed, she then began her career in marketing. "I chose to become a marketer because I like to develop and own my ideas," she says. "I like the versatility of the profession, which allows plenty of room for creativity."

Another benefit, Ms Yip says, is that she can see that her efforts are making a difference. "I can learn a lot about a company and devise marketing initiatives that will have a direct impact on the company's future development. It is very much unlike advertising where people might need to compromise ideas and they don't always have the full picture of their clients' businesses."

Starting small

According to Ms Yip, it is not always necessary to work on a well-founded brand to build a successful career. Her own development illustrates exactly that. When she first joined OSIM eight years ago, there was no such thing as a marketing team at the Hong Kong branch. "I chose to join OSIM for the once-in-a-life-time challenge — to start a marketing department from scratch," she says. "I didn't consider the company's size but instead its growth potential. Because then it's all about you making the contributions that will help the company grow. Working for an unknown brand can be the motivation for outrunning others."

Today Ms Yip oversees the company's activities in marketing, visual merchandising, customer service and corporate sales. Like many executives, first thing in the morning she turns on the computer and reviews the previous day's sales volume. A range of meetings with various departments and external parties follows. "During such meetings, we review our performance, define goals and design the best possible marketing strategies and promotional activities to meet them."

Another part of Ms Yip's responsibilities involves planning and implementing joint promotional initiatives. "When dealing with external parties, we must convey and reinforce a key message: that we are there to create a win-win situation," she says. "We need to convince people that we can make things work." To do so, Ms Yip notes, "Forming a business partnership takes trust and there is no better way to gain it than to show your professional integrity and to demonstrate the capability of your company and yourself."

Over the years, Ms Yip has witnessed dramatic changes in Hong Kong's economic environment and their impacts on customer behaviours. "We've been through SARS and the financial slump," she says. "A capable marketer must be able to grasp the pulse of the market and anticipate changes in peoples' lives. There are marketing tools that can be used, but it's communication that makes the difference. You must try and meet demands."

There was a time when people thought of OSIM only as a high-priced massage chair manufacturer. To counter this, marketing exercises that focused on health and lifestyle were initiated, interest-free instalment schemes introduced, and more compact products launched. In fact, OSIM now offers more than 100 innovative products, including air purifiers, health supplements and treadmills, covering the four co-related areas — healthcare, hygiene, nutrition and fitness.

Top quality

Leading a team of 15 sales and marketing professionals, Ms Yip knows that her attitude can influence others. "To lead a team towards the right direction and subsequently achieve common goals, you must first of all be a role model," she says. As such, Ms Yip still works around 11 hours a day. This, she notes, is the norm across the marketing field. "I may even bring some work home," she confesses. Ms Yip also believes that leadership is not only a key to being a successful business executive but also to the overall well-being of a company. "No one person can accomplish everything single-handedly. You work as a team and the team in turn is the making of the company," she adds, "Work is great entertainment to me. I am not the sort of person who has to take a day off during the weekend. I find great satisfaction in my work."

Besides her talent and dedication, being innovative is one of Ms Yip's best qualities. As a seasoned professional in the field, she understands the significance of creativity, which should not, she says, be hindered by geographical, demographical or even technological limitations. "There aren't many advertising or marketing vehicles here in Hong Kong. But your own thoughts should not be restricted. You must break away and get right into the core of the market. You must be able to generate ideas that convince your advertising partners and touch the lives of your audience," she says. "In this business, if you don't innovate you become very boring and extremely bored."


Taken from Career Times 08 June 2007
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